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Joe Mauer was called out for his pitch selection over the weekend

Jun 28, 2011, 8:47 AM EDT

Minnesota Twins v New York Yankees, Game 3 Getty Images

That work that Joe Mauer is getting a first base is clearly designed to (a) get his bat in the lineup more often; and (b) potentially cover for what could be the loss of Justin Morneau for the rest of the season.  But there’s at least one guy who may be happy to see Mauer at first for another reason. That guy is Twins reliever Jose Mijares.

I had missed this over the weekend, but on Friday, Mijares got a bit angry at Mauer over the pitches he called during Mijares’ brief and unsuccessful seventh inning appearance against Prince Fielder. What’s more, he took the unusual step of calling out Mauer for it after the game:

“I don’t know what was going on with Mauer,” Mijares said after the Twins fell back to 10 games below .500. “He never put the sign for breaking ball. Never. Fastball, fastball, fastball. Fastball. Last pitch, I’d like to throw a breaking ball. He said fastball. OK.”

Ron Gardenhire wasn’t happy with the pitch selection either, though it seems that he placed blame on both Mijares and Mauer:

“A lefthander’s gotta come in and hopefully spin some pitches. If you just throw fastballs — I could leave a righthander in to throw fastballs. That’s the way I look at it.”

In all, the lefty Mijares threw six pitches, all of them fastballs. Why, if he felt so strongly about it, he didn’t shake off Mauer or have a little conference about it on the mound is an open question. And of course, if that last fastball to Fielder was any good, Fielder wouldn’t have smacked it for a go-ahead double. For Mauer’s part, he said that Mijares’ slider had been erratic lately, and he worried about walking Fielder. Though, really, a walk to Fielder may not have been awful there.

Either way, it’s not often that you see a reliever — let alone the manager — quibble with pitch selection like this after a game. Especially in a way that calls out an MVP catcher like Mauer.

  1. bennyc50 - Jun 28, 2011 at 8:58 AM

    Mauer responded by pounding Mijares with a steel chair http://www.thatstwinsbaseball.com/mijares-calls-out-mauer-mauer-responds-with-steel-chair/

  2. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 28, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    In all, the lefty Mijares threw six pitches, all of them fastballs. Why, if he felt so strongly about it, he didn’t shake off Mauer or have a little conference about it on the mound is an open question

    Except after 5 fastballs, it becomes a classic example of game theory. Fielder may expect a different pitch b/c he’s seen 5 straight fastballs. But if he expects that, and Mijares knows he’s looking for a different pitch, he should throw a fastball again.

    Or, if you think this is an elaborate excuse to post a clip from the Princess Bride, well you know me too well:

    • foreverchipper10 - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:57 AM

      INCONCEIVABLE!

    • Utley's Hair - Jun 28, 2011 at 12:05 PM

      Truly, you have a dizzying intellect.

  3. theotherfamousamos - Jun 28, 2011 at 9:10 AM

    Finally a teammate is willing to call out Mauer. Now if only a teammate would call out the $23 million man for being so soft and unwilling to play at less than 100 percent.

    • senatorsguy - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:55 AM

      You have been listening to too many fat radio guys questioning Mauer out of sheer ignorance. There is no such thing as a MLB catcher who plays only at 100%. It is the toughest position in sports and the amount of foul tips and crouching leads to constant aches and pains. Mauer played as many games at catcher from 2006 thru 2010 as virtually any catcher in the game. He plays hurt. He apparently doesn’t play when post-surgery recovery doesn’t allow him to feel capable of performing the required tasks of the game. There is a big difference.

      • schrutebeetfarms - Jun 28, 2011 at 1:02 PM

        The opinion in the Twins organization is that Mauer didn’t come to camp ready and didn’t do the proper off-season rehab. That’s from the Twins radio color guy. So I’m wiilling to bet he’s plenty plugged in and isn’t criticizing out of sheer ignorance.

        Furthermore, you’re right when you say that no catcher plays at 100%. No player does. Avilia for Detroit plays game at third base so that they can keep his bat in the lineup. The only person that is saying Mauer has to catch each time he plays is Mauer. Everyone else is saying he should DH or play another position to “rest his legs.”

        Take off the Mauer colored glasses.

      • pellypell - Jun 28, 2011 at 1:10 PM

        I think we found Joe Mauer’s HBT username.

  4. kopy - Jun 28, 2011 at 9:24 AM

    Well, in Mauer’s defense:

    “Called for a fastball there,” Mauer said. “I didn’t call for it down the middle.”

    http://twitpic.com/5gga0m

    • Andrew - Jun 28, 2011 at 12:27 PM

      I wondered when Parker Hageman’s picture was going to make it into this thread.

  5. Jonny 5 - Jun 28, 2011 at 9:31 AM

    This isn’t good for the Twins. Calling out players to the media seems counterproductive to me.

    • Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:49 AM

      It’s totally productive for the White Sox, Tigers and Indians though…and the Royals to a lesser extent.

      • Jonny 5 - Jun 28, 2011 at 11:17 AM

        Very true…

  6. senatorsguy - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:47 AM

    Its worth noting that in the days following this episode, Gardenhire was quoted a couple of times as stating that Mijares failed to shake off a sign – ultimately the pitcher is the one who throws the ball and needs to make the call. Of course – it doesn’t hurt to hit the glove on the outer corner instead of being middle in at thigh level to Prince Fielder.

  7. nikesparq - Jun 28, 2011 at 10:55 AM

    Sigh, Mijares you really need to leave town. As soon as you come up to pitch every Twins fans knows this is suddenly a home run derby compeition. Your throws no doubtly fast, and fierce, but also wild with no accuracy.

    • Andrew - Jun 28, 2011 at 12:29 PM

      Yeah, but that’s only been this year. Check out his stats from any year that doesn’t end in ’11.

      (A little tired of all the Mijares-hate)

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